Category: writing

Human Kindness – the Story of the Yellow Handbag

The Yellow Handbag and a story of kindness

 

This is a little story about a yellow handbag, but really it is a story about human kindness.

I was visiting London just after Christmas and was delighted to receive a beautiful yellow handbag as a gift from my sister. I was excited, and immediately changed everything over.

The next day I packed up my things to catch a train to Birmingham where I was attending a craft exhibition at the NEC.  I felt really smart heading off with my new handbag and a borrowed backpack.

I need to stop here and draw a little picture of where I was in my life at the time.  I was suffering from severe depression and had made a decision (on my own) to come off the anti-depressants.  While I was over in London my Dad was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, and I was trying to process this.  Life was a little hard, to be honest but I was still determined that all would be well.

On the second day of the exhibition I packed up early and had a quick breakfast in my hotel in the centre of Birmingham before catching the rush hour train from Birmingham Central to Birmingham International.  I boarded the train with my backpack, my yellow handbag and my bag of goodies from the exhibition.

What I didn’t realise was that my body was going into withdrawal from the anti-depressants and that quite honestly I was cracking up.

It is a short distance from the station to the exhibiton.  Considering the day ahead, I walked along and then  I stopped and stumbled and nearly fell over in shock.  I didn’t have my handbag with me.

Passport, money, phone,  train ticket, air ticket, house and car keys, everything.  I felt physically sick.

I stumbled along to the organiser’s office where I told them what had happened.  They offered me a seat and the use of the phone.  By this stage everything had closed in on me.  I was crying uncontrollably.  The shock added to everything else that was going on in my life, the worry about my Dad and the loss of my handbag had flattened me.

I had no idea how I could even get back to London, never mind Ireland.

I walked back to the station and asked about my ticket.  “You need to purchase another ticket to London”, I was told.  I walked back to the NEC – I didn’t know what to do.

Human Kindness from a friend

On returning to the exhibition I tried to focus and realised that I needed money of some sort to at least get back to London and to my sister.  Thankfully Sara from Crafters Companion, who was exhibiting, knew me didn’t even hesitate – she loaned me 50 Pounds.

I tried to enjoy the exhibition but by this stage my heart was not in it.  I felt broken.

Walking back to the station, yet again I really didn’t know what to do.  Something led me back to the enquiries office where I had been turned away earlier.  The man on duty clearly saw my distress and told me to go down to Platform 7.

Human Kindness from a stranger

There I met the kindest man who took my missing handbag seriously.  He called everyone he knew.  He traced the train down to London where it was on a siding being cleaned.  He spoke to the cleaners.  He left no stone un-turned.  He checked every station along the way.  He checked lost property.  I just sat there with my crumpled tissue feeling lost and desperate.

Eventually he had exhausted all his options and we called the police.  There had been a number of incidents where handbags had been stolen they told me.  They took down the report.

Just as I sat down the phone rang.  ‘Stay here,” he said.  Minutes later he walked in with my handbag.  My beautiful handbag.  ‘Check it please,” he said.  I did and nothing at all was missing.

Human Kindness from a woman I never met

The story was that one of the staff members on Virgin Trains had seen me get on the train at Birmingham Central with the yellow handbag and seen me get off at Birmingham International without it.  She was near the area where I was sitting, and rescued my handbag and brought it back to Birmingham International where she knew I would be stranded.

This was quite a few years ago, but I have never forgotten the kindness of the man who helped me search for the bag and the woman who had cared enough to bring it back to me.  I don’t know if it is possible, but perhaps through social media I might find this angel and be able to thank her properly.

If you have a kindness story, I would love to hear it.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

 

 

 

 

Finding your blogging voice

Finding your blogging voice

 

When you decide to start a blog, you might have a clear idea of what you want to write about, but, have you really found our blogging voice?

I have recently read back on some of my earlier blog posts and realised that it took a while to find my blogging voice.

It is important to figure out what it is you want to blog about and to find your blogging voice.  This is what is going to make your blog popular and have people returning to read your posts on a regular basis.

My mission, a year after starting my blog was to find out what was working and what wasn’t.  Because I love statistics this was my first stop.  I had a look at my stats on Google Analytics and on Jetpack which is a WordPress plug-in.  I also had a look at my comments and which posts had the most feedback.

If I had to describe myself I would say that I am a storyteller.  I tell stories about my quest to feel fabulous despite the curveballs that life throws at us. I am a plus size lady, who has passed the age of 50 who loves life and is determined to find the positive.  I have a good few health issues, that really are curveballs for me.  Over the past few years I have learnt that in order to feel fabulous I need to consider my health and wellness holistically.  I look to my own experiences and to others to find out what it is that gives is that positive kick to overcome the stumbling blocks of life.

I would say that it took me from about 13 to 30 to find myself – to find my style and the things that I would be passionate about most of my life.  I have some pretty frightening and clear memories of some fashion disasters that followed me through my twenties, not to mention hair styles including the spiral perm on very blond hair.  I think I must have looked quite odd, and yet I didn’t think so at the time.

By the time I had hit my forties I had found my personal style.  I do still indulge in some fashion purchases and some of these are less advisable, but generally speaking I now know what suits me and what doesn’t.

Finding your blogging voice is similar I think.  In an effort to find mine I have looked for advice.

I was given a fabulous book The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, and it devotes a full chapter to finding your voice.

‘Great bloggers all share one virtue in common:  They infuse their writing with a triple shot of personality.   Let your personality flow into your blogging and your readers will find you.’

Jeffrey Feldman, editor in chief of Frameshop and Huffpost blogger.

Verena von Pfetten, Living Editor at Huffington Post advises you to use the voice you have.

‘The best and easiest way to find your voice is to use the one you have. Sounds too easy?  It’s not.  That is why blogging is so popular!  First think about blogging as writing an email to a friend.  Better yet, and email to a really cool clever friend with whom you have a great and witty rapport’ says Verena.

She also advises to simply start writing.  You don’t spend hours hemming and hawing over how you are going to draft an email, so don’t spend hours hemming and hawing over a blog post.  It is not worth the effort.

Her final piece of advice is not to try too hard.  Don’t try to be anything other than exactly who you are.  It is your voice you are trying to find.

I have been blogging for over a year now, and I want to thank everyone who has read my blog, and an extra thanks for the comments and feedback.  Thanks for helping me find my voice.

I also want to do a quick thank you to the ladies at ITWBN who run fabulous events and give bloggers support.  Being part of a blogging network and reading lots of other blogs is really important and certainly helps to find your blogging voice.

I am proud to say I am a health, wellness and positivity blogger.  Here is to another year writing about finding the fabulous especially for those who are a little older and those who are facing some curveballs themselves.

If you are thinking of starting a blog – do it!  If you want any help or advise please feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading.

Kerry xx

 

Why I write in my journal every day

5 year diaryDo you remember getting your first diary for Christmas.  I think I was probably around 7 or 8.  I was so excited and planned on pouring my heart out to Dear Diary ….

If I remember correctly it was probably before the end of January that I gave up, and the diary languished among the other clutter in my bedroom.

I celebrated a significant birthday last year, and received the most wonderful gift that keeps on giving.  My sister bought me a Q&A Five Year Journal.

This is a diary with a difference.  Every day you are asked a simple question, and there are only a couple of lines for your answer.  The questions are random enough, but they do make you think.

My word of the year for 2014 was discipline so I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t miss a day, and I didn’t.  This chunky little book filled up with my thoughts and musings and then the exciting part started to happen. I entered my second year.  As I read the answers from the previous year I realised that in some aspects of my life, nothing had changed.  My ambitions are the same and many of the core beliefs remain consistant.  Some answers show how far I have come and in fact how much has changed.  Little notations reminded me of special people and special occasions.

Here are some of the interesting questions my diary has asked:

  • What are you chasing at the moment?
  • Write the first sentence of your biography?
  • What’s the last song you listened to?
  • What question makes you anxious?
  • Who do you need to call?
  • What was your last credit card purchase?

All bloggers are diarists.  I can honestly say that taking a few minutes of every day to write and read my little book has often promoted a blog post, or a thought process.  It is all a bit introspective, but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing.

It really is fun and can’t help but wonder what kind of read it will be when all five years have been completed.

I would encourage anyone who is looking for that special gift for a special person to consider this unique gift.

Tonight  sat down and read a few entries along with a good cup of tea, and a delicious Broderick Bros Road Rocking Choc Choc block from my ITWBN goodie bag.  Yum yum!  (By the way all geeky webby people should visit the website it is fab)

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

 

Writing my first book and how Words changed my life

W

 

Ever since I can remember I have wanted to write a book.  I was never quite sure what the book would be about, fiction or non-fiction, but I knew that I had a book in me.

I think perhaps we all have a book in us, and I am proud to say that I have finally started writing my first book and it is all about how words changed my life

Regular readers of this little blog will have read a few posts on balance and change.  These are two of the words that have changed my life.

Let me back-track a bit and tell you about my word of the year idea and how this has evolved into the start of my book.

A few years ago I was in a very dark place.  I simply felt that I had no choices anymore, no opportunities and that I was stuck in a situation that I couldn’t change.  I hit rock bottom and from this I had a germ of an idea.  I did a good bit of navel gazing trying to figure out why my life had got so out of sync and realised that my life was out of balance.  This can best be described by a post  I wrote about Balloons in a Box.

I decided that instead of a new year’s resolution I would simply choose a word.  This would be my Word of the Year.  I didn’t know how it was going to work, so I simply started by thinking about it.  Literally meditating on the word.  Slowly but surely over the year my life started to come into balance and I ended the year in a far better place. Take a sneak peak at how it panned out here.

The next year, after some more soul searching I chose the word Change.  Now I can promise you that this was a dramatic word to choose.  In a few short months the changes had started happening and they continued to happen.  Big changes in my life that although traumatic resulted in a better me.

Choosing words to focus on became a way of life for me and I have spent a year with Discipline as my word, and now this year my words (I felt I needed two) are Create and Respect.

I am really honoured that quite a few people have decided to use this approach to ‘resolutions’ using words like brave, focus, grow and strength.

So the book is started and sneak peaks will continue to appear on the blog.  I really do value the feedback and comments, please keep them coming.

I have been through quite a few changes in the last few weeks myself, and have missed out on a few blog posts.  All up and running now with my brand new broadband connection so here is a promise to keep the posts more regular.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry x

 

Making a gratitude list – and checking it twice …

gratitudeˈɡratɪtjuːd-nounthe quality of….. there are many people who have been very nice, and none that have been naughty.

I have a lot to be thankful for.  Over the last couple of months I have been through a bit. I have moved home twice, started a new job, said farewell to friends and hello to new friends.

Throughout it all, there has been one constant.  Gratitude.  I have so very much to be thankful for. My family and friends near and far have been there for me.

Sometimes it is the big things like a the gift of a holiday or a bed for a month that I am extremely grateful for, but then again there are those smaller things that simply come along at just the right time when you need them.

The day I moved to my new home I had so much help.  I simply could not have done it without the kindness of others.

I was moved in and was surrounded by boxes and memories, all the helpers had left and I must admit I was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  A little bit lonely to be honest.  The next thing I was greeted at my front door by a fellow South African I had ‘met’ on Facebook.  She had those moving day essentials, a bottle of wine and a cake!

I am no good at scrubbing and cleaning because it hurts my hands.  How blessed am I to have a friend who came and cleaned my bathrooms for me.  True friendship,

I have honestly been so humbled when I wrote my gratitude list.   It is something quite personal but very important.to remind us of the true meaning of gratitude.

This definition is very true.  It is not enough to simply be thankful.  We need to show appreciation and return kindness.It is also really important that amidst the hustle and bustle of life, it is important to make a call, send a text or even send a card to say thank you.

I challenge you to make a gratitude list.

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

Blog writing – some inspiration for when you hit a block

Inspiration for blogging (2)Writing is a funny thing – it is a bit like walking or in fact any other kind of exercise.  You need to do it.  And do it regularly.

I had to take a break from writing (blog, book, diary) for a week or so due to a combination of commitments and sore hands.

When I returned to the computer I had the ‘joy’ of the blank page.  What to write? How to start?

Even after consulting my little book of blogging ideas, and having a go at the next chapter of my book, I still couldn’t get started.

I need a cool drink.  It’s hot.  Oh – the dishwasher needs unpacking.  Ah while I am in the kitchen I will put a load of washing on.  Look at the time – I really should make some dinner.

One of my greatest procrastination techniques is to read blogs, or google ideas for writing.

The best piece of advice I have ever received is to simply write.  Take a sheet of paper, or open a document and write.  Even if you write about your day, or what you are thinking of making for dinner – Just write.

It may be that you produce a few hundred words that will never be seen by anyone, but you will be writing.  It really is like exercise, one you get going you can go a little further, and a little further after that.

And then, of course you have to do it again tomorrow and the day after that.

I have so many areas of my life where I need to discipline myself into doing things.  Making cards for the shop I supply.  Walking, tidying clutter and of course writing.

Here are my few points to get going with that next blog post

  1. Keep a bloggers notebook. Jot down ideas as they come to you.  You might never use them or they might simply be a kernel of an idea that grows into a great post.
  2. Give yourself a timetable – and try as much as you can to stick to it. I don’t always make it, but it is a gentle reminder.  I do a motivational post, a beauty post and a quotation most weeks.
  3. When you are in a good writing space – prepare a few posts
  4. Write every day, even it if it simply a line in your diary. I use Penzu as an online diary.
  5. Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration. I have a few boards, and one of my favourites in the inspiration board.  You can follow me here
  6. Read other blog posts. Not to copy but simply for inspiration.
  7. Finally make yourself a promise. Set time aside and simply do it.

I would love to hear any inspiration from other bloggers or writers.

Thanks for reading

Kerry xx

 

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